Sex offenders are ‘missing’

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Police forces across the region have admitted they don’t know the whereabouts of a number of convicted sex offenders.

The figures were revealed in a Freedom of Information request, which show there are almost 400 “missing” sex offenders nationally.

Lincolnshire Police said the whereabouts of seven registered sex offenders were unknown. Two have been missing since 2006, two since 2009 and three since 2014.

Leicestershire Police said the whereabouts of two registered sex offenders were unknown, including one who went missing more than a year ago and another who had been missing for two months. It is unknown if either lived in Rutland.

Cambridgeshire Police said 10 registered sex offenders were wanted because their whereabouts were unknown. They had been missing for between two and eight 

And Northamptonshire Police said the whereabouts of nine sex offenders were unknown.

Forces across the country have said some missing offenders are believed to be living abroad, in some cases having returned to their home countries.

A spokesman for Northamptonshire Police said: “Changes in national legislation which came into force on Sunday, March 8, will make it possible for police forces to apply for orders to ban sex offenders from travelling abroad.

“It is hoped this change in the law will make the system even more robust.”

The Freedom of Information requests were sent by the Press Association to every police force in the UK to find out the number of missing registered sex offenders.

Forces which provided figures for February or early March said the information was “dynamic” and would change as arrests are made or new cases come to light through “proactive intelligence-led policing or routine visits to registered offenders”.

Every force that responded refused to name the missing sex offenders over fears of vigilante attacks or because the information was exempt under data protection laws.

The NSPCC described the figures as “alarming”. Jon Brown from the charity said about half of those on the register were offenders who had raped or sexually assaulted children, or had committed offences relating to online child abuse images.